A butter curler is a kitchen gadget that is designed to assist cooks in carving butter into fanciful shapes and curls. It is often included in a set of garnishing tools that might include other gadgets such as lemon zesters and melon ballers. Although most cooks do not have a need for this utensil, the device can be quite useful, especially for formal dinners. Carved butter garnishes at the table can add an elegant look, and many restaurants use butter curlers for this purpose.
The construction of a butter curler might look slightly bizarre to someone who is not familiar with the tool. It has a long handle attached to a serrated and hooked metal blade. With practice, a cook can drag the blade across a stick of chilled butter to generate wispy shavings of butter, tightly furled butter flowers and other garnishes. This utensil also can be used to create delicate textured patterns in butter.
How It Is Used
Working with a butter curler can take a few tries before a cook gets it right. As a general rule, the butter is chilled, and the butter curler is warmed before use. Varying amounts of pressure yield different curled butter designs. If the butter breaks or flakes, it is too cold and should be allowed to warm slightly before the cook tries again.
After butter garnishes have been sculpted with a butter curler, they should be kept in ice water or under refrigeration so that the shape does not collapse. If the butter is going to be presented in a large bowl at a table, it can be chilled in the bowl, and the cool surface of the bowl will help the butter stay firm throughout table service. The addition of a garnish such as parsley can add visual interest to the presentation.
There are other potential uses for a butter curler. The device can be used to shave chocolate, for example. When foods such as chocolate and butter need to be melted, a butter curler can be used to make small, easily melted shavings, which will cut down the time required for the melting process. Some crafters use butter curlers to make wax shavings, which can be decorative when mounded around the bases of candles.
When selecting a butter curler, a consumer should try to find one with a smooth, solid handle that is made from metal or plastic. Handles that have holes in them should be avoided because the holes can be a place for small bits of food and even host bacteria to collect. This utensil tends to get greasy, so one that can be washed in an electric dishwasher can save a person from having to wash it by hand.